Maria Fagyas

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Maria Fagyas (born February 14, 1905 in Budapest , Austria-Hungary ; died June 24, 1985 in Palm Springs, California ) was a Hungarian-American novelist and playwright.


Mária Helena Fagyas went to school in Budapest and studied there. Her father Géza Fagyas fell as a first lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army in the first weeks of the First World War on October 9, 1914. Fagyas moved to Berlin in 1925. She was married to the Hungarian theater and film writer László Bús-Fekete . In 1937 both emigrated to the USA . In the USA she took the name Mary Helen Fay, then Mary Bush-Fekete. Maria Fagyas wrote stage plays in English and translated Der Verunfaute Himmel into English for Franz Werfel . In 1963 she presented her first novel, which immediately received the "Edgar Allan Poe Special Award".

Inspector Nemetz and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

In the novel Die Fifth , five woman's corpses lie on a street on a street during the 1956 revolution in Budapest, and just because Inspector Nemetz had gone the same way at noon, he notices that there are now five instead of four women's corpses on the pavement. Nemetz stubbornly begins to investigate a private murder case in the middle of the political mass murder. In this novel, Fagyas constructs the mental duel between the murderer and the policeman, which the latter loses, but where justice comes into play in an absurd way: the murderer is punished by the Russian intervention force for something he did not commit.

Adolf Hofrichter

The "Hofrichter Affair" in 1909 formed the basis for the novel The Devil's Lieutenant ( The Lieutenant and His Judge ), which Fagyas dedicated to her father, who died in World War I.

On November 17, 1909, the captain i. G. Richard Mader found with cyanide poisoning in his apartment on Hainburgerstrasse in Vienna . The police found a box of pastilles on him that were touted as potency enhancers. The sales letter was signed by a "Charles Francis". Similar mail had been sent to nine other young officers who had graduated from the 1905 General Staff Course.

Similar boxes were found on Lieutenant Adolf Hofrichter, who had also belonged to this decommissioned class and was now stationed with Infantry Regiment No. 14 Grand Duke of Hesse in Linz , and a specimen of writing corroborated the suspicion. Hofrichter admitted the poison attacks to the military examining magistrate Jaroslav Kunz and gave as a motive his disadvantage in the selection for the general staff, but revoked the confession. Hofrichter was sentenced in May 1910 in a military trial in the Vienna garrison court on the Hernalser Gürtel to twenty years of heavy imprisonment. Adolf Hofrichter was sent to the Möllersdorf military penal institution and was released in the Austrian Republic in 1919. Max Winter and Karl Kraus had also reported on the case at the time ; Egon Erwin Kisch left his position on behalf of court judges in 1928 when he expressed his sympathy with the Nazis.

Fagyas sharpens the novel plot to the dispute between court judge and the investigator over the confession.

The preprint of the German translation was published in 1971 as a serial novel in the Illustrierte Stern .

The widowmaker

The novel The Widowmaker is a free adaptation of a series of murders in the Hungarian community of Tiszazug in the 1920s.

Film adaptations


  • The fifth . Translation Konrad Fuchs. Tübingen: Wunderlich 1965 ( The Fifth Woman , New York 1963)
  • The widowmaker . Translation Konrad Fuchs. Tübingen: Wunderlich 1967 ( The Widowmaker , New York 1966)
  • The twin sister. Translation of Irene Ohlendorf. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1977, ISBN 3-498-02033-1 ( The Twin Sister , New York 1970)
  • The lieutenant and his judge . Translation Isabella Nadolny . Reinbek: Rowohlt 1971 ( The Devil's Lieutenant , New York, 1970)
  • The murderer's dance. Translation of Irene Ohlendorf. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1974, ISBN 3-498-02033-1 ( Dance of Assassins , New York 1973)
  • Court of Honor , New York 1978


  • Alice in Arms (based on: Star in the Window ), comedy (as Mary Helen Fay together with: L. Bush-Fekete, Sidney Sheldon) produced at: "National Theater, E Street Theater Corporation" January 31, 1945 worldcat
  • The tightrope walker , comedy, performed in 1984 at the “Junge Bühne Bremerhaven” jungebü
  • Grandson Tom (with Ladislaus Bush-Fekete), comedy. Translation Hans Jaray (Original title: Tommy )
  • Court of honor New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978. (as M Bush-Fekete)
  • Adam's garden . Comedy (with L. Bush-Fekete). Mschr. German v. Gina Kaus . Austrian Stage extension Vienna, after 1945 (as Mary Helen Fay) (ÖNB catalog 1930–1991)
  • Suszy or Suszanne? [Lot's wife. German.] [New title: Hexenschuß.] Comedy (with Ladislaus Bus-Fekete). Trans. U. edit v. Joseph Glücksmann. Stage Ms. - Vienna: Marton 1953 (as Mary Bus-Fekete). (ÖNB catalog 1930–1991) Under the title Hexenschuß at the Akademietheater in Vienna on June 28, 1954.


Theater adaptations

  • Franz Werfel : The high school graduation day. The story of a youth debt (1928): Acting / by M. u. L. Bush Fekete. Translated by Gina Kaus Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer approx. 1960
  • Franz Werfel : Embezzled Heaven (Der veruntreute Himmel), stage adaptation by Ladislaus Bush-Fekete and Mary Helen Fay, Embezzled heaven, a play in a prologue and three acts, New York, Viking Press, 1945, was released on October 31, 1944 in New York premiered at the National Theater, Broadway and in 1948 in Heidelberg.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Film adaptation: La quinta donna . Book review : Sybil Countess Schönfeldt : Review in brief . In: Die Zeit , No. 22/1972
  2. Bernhard Theodor Wenning: “The Adolf Hofrichter affair”, the poison murder trial against OLt Hofrichter, presented on the basis of the investigation and court files . Univ. Diss., Vienna 2002
  3. ^ The case of Hofrichter
  4. ^ Adolf Hofrichter (1880–1945); Peter Broucek (Ed.), A General in Twilight. The memories of Edmund Glaises von Horstenau , 3 volumes. Böhlau, Vienna 1980–88. Volume 3, p. 188
  5. Max Winter: The Hofrichter case. From a journalist's notebook . Langen, Munich 1910. Also: Anonymus: The novel of First Lieutenant Adolf Hofrichter From +++. Sibler, Innsbruck 1910 (at: ÖNB)
  6. Tiszazug see Hungarian Wikipedia hu: Tiszazug . Lit: Béla Bodó: Tiszazug: A Social History of a Murder Epidemic , Columbia, New York 2002, ISBN 9780880334877 ; Sándor Illés: Tiszazug , Kossuth, Budapest 1961 ( hu: Illés Sándor (újságíró) )
  7. ^ National Theater, Broadway see Nederlander Theater in the English language Wikipedia; For performance in Heidelberg see: Klaus-Gunther Wesseling:  WERFEL, Franz. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 13, Bautz, Herzberg 1998, ISBN 3-88309-072-7 , Sp. 786-832.